Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 22 February 2012

Venue: Room 29

2:00 pm The meeting opened in public session.

1.  Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 15 February 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted an update from the Committee for Finance and Personnel which detailed by Department the number of Post Project Evaluations that are outstanding.

Clerk’s Memo re Whistleblower Correspondence

The Committee considered a brief from the Clerk detailing allegations raised by a whistleblower during the course of the Committee’s inquiry on ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources – The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme’.

Agreed:  The Comptroller and Auditor General undertook to highlight the issues raised by the whistleblower to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

4. Memorandum of Reply

The Committee considered the Memorandum of Reply to the Committee’s report on ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources - The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme’.

2:11 pm Mr Easton entered the meeting.

Members put a number of questions to Ms Fiona Hamill, Treasury Officer of Accounts, Department of Finance and Personnel.

Agreed:  Ms Hamill undertook to respond in writing and clarify the points raised by the Committee.

2:35 pm The meeting went into closed session.

5. Draft Forward Work Programme

3:03 pm Mr Easton declared an interest stating that he is the Assembly Private Secretary for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Mr Anderson declared an interest stating that he is currently a Councillor for Craigavon Borough Council.

Mr Copeland declared an interest stating that he is currently a Councillor for Castlereagh Borough Council.

2:56 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

2:57 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:00 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

3.05 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

The Committee was given the C&AG’s assessment of the NIAO reports available for the Committee’s next forward work programme.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed a selection of reports for its future inquiries.

6. Correspondence received relating to the Committee’s Inquiry into ‘DETI: The Bioscience Technology Institute’

3:10 pm Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

3:21 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr David Sterling, Accounting Officer, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment providing further information for its inquiry.

7. Any other business

The Chairperson advised that a number of members had received correspondence from Mr Bill Rogers regarding alleged agricultural subsidy fraud and sought to meet with the Committee.

Agreed:  Since previous investigations undertaken have not identified any evidence of fraud the Committee agreed to not to pursue any further investigation into this matter.

Agreed:  The Committee further agreed to write to Mr Rogers to inform him of its decision.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3:40 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey MP MLA
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
29 February 2012

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